Nursery rhyme  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey;
There came a big spider,
Who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away.

--"Little Miss Muffet" (1805)

Related e



A nursery rhyme is a traditional song or poem taught to young children, originally in the nursery. Learning such verse assists in the development of vocabulary, and several examples deal with rudimentary counting skills. It also encourages children to enjoy music. In addition, specific actions, motions, or dances are often associated with particular songs.

Many cultures (though not all; see below) feature children's songs and verses that are passed down by oral tradition from one generation to the next (either from parent to child or from older children to younger children). In the English language, the term nursery rhyme generally refers to those of European origin, and the best known examples are English and originated in or since the 17th century. Their origins were possibly a form of oral political cartoon from an era when free speech could get the speaker imprisoned. Nursery rhymes, however, are often violent in nature; for example, in "Jack and Jill", Jack fell down and "broke his crown" i.e., injuring his head so that it bled.

Some nursery rhymes, however, are substantially older. "Sing a Song of Sixpence" exists in written records as far back as the Middle Ages. Some well-known nursery rhymes originated in the United States, such as "Mary Had a Little Lamb".

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Nursery rhyme" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools